An international award for my old hometown

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By Fe San Juan Hidalgo

Citizen Fe

Monday, May 12, 2014


MAY 5, I was browsing in my Facebook postings under News Feed. I saw an interesting news, courtesy of Channel 5 titled Communities Kapatid in the news. “Kaya Pasig City made it”. This is explained in a ten part series of videos emceed by Twink Macaraeg as host. She is a verified Pasigeña. I viewed the series in one sitting, fascinated and deeply touched. Pasig City won the International Award as the Most Liveable City In The World by the LIV COM organization. There are four winning cities for the year2013. These are Pasig City of the Philippines, Nanjing of China, Al Ain of United Arab Emirates, and Portland Metropolitan District of USA.

The criteria for determining the winners are six. 1. Enhancement of natural and built landscape. 2. Promotion of arts and culture. 3. Best economic and environmental practices. 4. Community empowerment and services. 5. Children welfare and education. 6. Strategic planning. There are sub articles under each. A team of evaluators are sent to cities all over the world. This is a very tedious task.

The central awarding body studies the findings and merits given. From these data they judge the winners and inform them to send their delegates to claim their awards. Pasig City sent the present city mayor and her other city administrative officers to Xiaman, China the venue for the awarding of prizes their medals. Pasig City received 30 gold medals, 2 silver, and 1 bronze. Some awards also got monetary equivalents of the medals. The children education medals got Bursar cash prizes to be given to the children who got the points for their scholarships and educational expenses. Some significant activities done in the city are handicrafts made from water lilies, which clog the Pasig river causing flooding on the land, carless days to lessen air pollution due to fossil gases like carbon dioxide, taking care of nature by planting trees, giving pupils green cards to collect trash and segregate and recycle them. The pupils earn pocket money here. There are community activities from barangay to city levels done through the citizens ' initiative. Bayanihan is distinctly Filipino.

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Knowing about this award for my hometown makes my heart swell with pride. I love Pasig, my birthplace 83 years ago. I have served it in all possible ways. I taught sciences to my boys in the parochial school way back 1952. Believe me, now 58 years later living in different countries as family men and professionals they still comment on my Column in this paper and call me teacher and friend and say I am youthful till now. I am a senior citizen of Pasig and wrote a script for a gala show to use the hidden talents of the somber looking oldies. They perked up, singing, dancing, acting. It was a boost for their self confidence. The Mayor thanked me for this. A city official bought volumes of my book on Environment when I launched it in Kamayan Edsa to be distributed to all the barangays in Pasig. I donated the royalties for this sale to my senior citizens group. I was appointed member of the Board of Trustees of the newly founded Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasig and consultant for the newly renovated Pasig City Museum of arts and culture. I was active as a member of the task force for the Pasig River Rehabilitation with then first Lady Amelita Ramos. I take pride in being awarded outstanding citizen in the field of Education and Science on July 2, 2000.

I visit Pasig every Christmas to be with my clan. Our family columbarium is at the Pasig Cathedral Ossuary where my husband is resting in peace. All my high school classmates in Colegio del buen Consejo where I graduated as valedictorian in 1948 are all in our 80's, most are widows.

We are all career women. One is a famous artist. Most are educators. We still meet yearly for our reunion in Pasig. Now you know why I got so eager to cite Pasig's international award in my column today. I am a migrant and adoptive citizen of Davao since year 2000. This is my second home. For comments text cp no. 09202112534.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 13, 2014.

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